Man! What a great weekend at the red! I had a 3 day weekend and blogged about my first day of the trip already, but our second day, I was feeling pretty beat the night before, but there’s a wonder of what hot water can do, and taking both a night and morning shower, I felt OK – my skin felt ok so I figured I’d work hard and try to put down some more routes.
I figured. What the heck right? May as well warm-up trying to send my project. So I did a few pull-ups at the base and got right on Dustin Stephen’s classic (5 star by anyones definition) route – Gobstopper.
Gobstopper 5.12c starts with a high stick clip and a fairly difficult boulder problem right off the ground. The climbing at the absolute start is a little chossy but needs to clean up some (it will), though the bullet stone starts immediately. The crux is right above the second bolt (which you should stick clip anyways.) A difficult match (the crux) is immediately proceeded by a committing dead-point dyno move to a good hold. From here, you clip and then make a mostly no-food traverse right to a good stand-on-the-ledge rest.
You’ve already done the crux, but you still got another hard section – two bolts of techy and edgy face climbing with some really sweet bullet face climbing. The crux culminates with a dead-point move to a bomber 1/2 pad edge. From here, its maybe 10+ or 11- climbing.
I was happy to warm-up with the send on the route. It was getting a bit hot and I wanted to get on it before it went into the sun and luckily managed the send on it! I was happy that it felt easier this time – much easier than any previous attempt.
I next set my sites (being properly warmed up) on “Gilgamesh” 5.12b. I really wanted to onsite this route since it was suppose to be “really good” and it had a unique “rib” feature. The only other routes I can think of at the RRG that have rib “some say tufa” features is at the lode – Harvest and whatever route is next to it (oh yeah Flux.) Anyways, this one did not let me down. Some difficult slab climbing off the ground lead to the typical RRG mindless steep climbing – bigger moves between mostly good holds and a rest jug below the final crux boulder problem to the anchors.
I was surprised – there was actually a pretty bad hold on this one, but with my grip strength from training, I was able to punch it for the onsite.
The final “hard” route we tried for the day was “Malice” 5.12c. Keep in mind, it was HOT and we were chasing shade, so we were a bit worried when we walked around the bend and the sunlight was already creeping toward the cliffline. Yusuf knew the folks currently climbing the route and they gave us the full-on spray down which was great! Malice is really hard 🙂
Its the route just keeps giving…all the way to the anchor. “Malice” climbs this rib/plate feature up the gently overhanging face. The route starts kicking right off the bad with a long clip and a couple pulls between some sloping pinches. A couple more moves leads to a preeeeeeety hard clip! Like…oh jeez…I need to clip? OK I’ll chicken wing. Looking up, you see tick marks and stuff and figure that those holds are good…well. They aren’t. A difficult to hold right pinch and followed by an even worse hold that looks like its going to be good. All of this climbing takes place to the right of the obvious plate feature. Traversing into the plate feature is sustained and pumpy, but actually yields the first set of actual…”oh boy, I can hold this” holds and some uniquely sequential moves. This think is pure power enduro, none of the moves are really all that easy, but they don’t let up either. After another clip, you get to do the final power enduro crux section and stick the jug at the lip. You’d think the climbing is over there? Well…nope…You still have one more 12a crimp move to do! Then its all over.
I wasn’t feeling very hopeful after a botched flash attempt. I screamed a lot, but managed to make it all the way through the pumpy power enduro section on my second go, though the sun was definitely on the slab of the route at that point! I was worried about the bad crimper and shoot on the rest jug for a while, but it ended up feeling more like mid range 5.11 (easy) and voila!
We finished the day chasing more shade, all the way back right to “J-Rats Back” – which I managed the flash, allowing my buddy Yusuf the onsite.